Alex: The First Shoot

One from the vaults now to celebrate the welcome return of one of my external hard drives from the data recovery people (don’t ask)…

Sometimes, the first shoot with a model is enough to make you fairly certain that you’ll be working with them again. In this case, the stunning Alex Shanks came in to my (Fotofilia) studio in October 2014 to model for a simple group “Studio Roam” shoot where the whole premises were up for grabs as potential locations. Since then I’ve worked with Alex many times, from location shoots on frozen city streets to fashion shoots for one of my designer clients and she is always a delight to work with. So here are a few shots from that very first shoot:

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Club Culture

January saw the final meeting of the FOTO-CLUB, previously known as THE CLUB, the little photography club I put together a decade or so ago.

The final meeting of FOTO-CLUB at the 1000 Trades bar in Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.

I’d been in a few “camera clubs” over the years and had promised myself that one day I’d start a club that was nothing like the club’s I’d previously been a member of.

I wanted to avoid dull “circuit” speakers, never-ending competitions, old-blokeyness, equipment snobbery, and narrow-minded rejection of anything vaguely associated with progress.

Yes, we had a few competitions and we had exhibitions – but not like ones I’d taken part in in other clubs. One competition that we ran a couple of times was the “Crap Camera Challenge”, where members were given a disposable 35mm film camera and a vague theme to shoot to – no “equipment snobbery” possible, just a level playing field and the photographer’s imagination.

Over the years, we’ve had LOTS of excellent guest speakers, covering most aspects of photography. Many, if not most, of these speakers had never spoken to an audience about their work before. Some took many months of hinting, cajoling and arm-twisting to persuade to appear but all added to our collective understanding of what this medium is all about.

My sincere thanks to all of the members of FOTO-CLUB, The Club, and F2, and obviously everyone who came along to talk to us (who have included photographers, film-makers, male and female models, software companies, artists and curators).

I’m especially proud that these were often people who would never have been asked to speak on the traditional club circuit.

Helen G in Strangetown

The shoots we’ve done so far at Strangetown Studio have proved what a versatile and inspiring space the studio (and the Telsen building as a whole) can be. On Wednesday 28th June, we’ll once again be putting it to the test when the gorgeous Helen Gibson is the model for our first female “studio evening”.

I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. Helen is one of those models that I’ve been dying to work with and this is a great excuse. There are still spaces if you’d like to join us…

Images below courtesy of Joby Rawlins (left), plus two other photographers (name not supplied by Helen). 

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Back Down To The River

For the past few years, once the worst of the frost has gone and our week of British summertime looked like it might be imminent, I’ve organised a “Nude In The Landscape” workshop at my friend’s beautiful riverside smallholding in rural Warwickshire. Even the rain hasn’t been able to spoil these lovely art nude photo-shoots.

And I’ve done it again. This year’s event takes place on Sunday 25th June starting at 10:30am and I’m delighted to announce that the model on this occasion will be the stunning Cally, a wonderful model who has previously featured in other location art nude events for me.

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Here are a couple of images from the last event featuring the superb Rosa Brighid to give you an idea of the setting…

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Joel Hicks: “Warrior” Shoot

We really don’t do enough themed shoots based around male models. But when we do, often our first port of call is the incredible Joel Hicks. Model, photographer, actor (I’m particularly a fan of the Haribo ads that he features in), charity fundraiser, and with a CV that makes the rest of us mortals feel like slovenly under-achievers.

Joel has played the male part in a couple of our successful “Film Noir” shoots, a “Downton” themed shoot, a casino shoot, fitness/boxing shoots, and numerous lighting demos and other workshops at the studio over the years. In his last visit, he brought along just a few of his many props including swords and armour and we had great fun capturing dramatic action shots using them.

Well, on that occasion we really didn’t have long to make the most of the photographic possibilities so I’ve arranged a return visit on Thursday 22nd June with a full two and a half hours to shoot in. There are still a couple of spaces. The venue is Strangetown Studio  in Aston, Birmingham and the high ceilings there will be a bit more suitable for swinging swords around.

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Gypsy Caravan Shoot With Ivory Flame

There are some shoot ideas that just hang around in your head for years and then one day, the opportunity arises to make them a reality. Such was the case with the forthcoming FOTO-CLUBGypsy Caravan Shoot With Ivory Flame“. Ever since I first worked with the wonderful Ivory Flame a few years ago, I’ve thought “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to do a gypsy-themed shoot with Ivory Flame and a traditional horse-drawn gypsy caravan…”.

And then, as if by magic, when looking around the beautiful house and gardens that were to be used for the “Luxury House Fashion Shoot” a few months back, there, at the end of the huge garden… was an original, authentic gypsy caravan. Suddenly it fell into place and I quickly asked the owner if it would be possible to use it for a shoot.

There was only ever one model I wanted for this. Ivory Flame. The epitome of ethereal and natural “English Rose” beauty with a bucket of Pre-Raphaelite influence and a hint of Celt thrown in.

I look forward to posting the images here soon, but there are still spaces if you’d like to join us. The venue’s address will be revealed once you’ve booked but it is near Lapworth, Solihull.

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“Urban Ballet” Comes Home

The FOTO-CLUBUrban Ballet” shoot seems to have become something of an annual institution and happily, this year we’re continuing the tradition. However, we finally have our OWN perfect venue for this shoot – the new Strangetown studio and the many stairwells and corridors around the Telsen building.

As usual, the main dancer/model is the wonderful Emilie Walt, my “go to” model for dance-themed shoots, and Penny (a friend of Emilie’s). There are still a couple of spaces so get in touch if you fancy joining us.

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